Thursday, August 11, 2005

Berger and Able Danger- Speculation, Part II

Here are three other things to contemplate in light of my previous post (here):

1. Berger's testimony to the 9/11 Commission, especially this:
You asked how effective key agencies were at implementing the Clinton
administration’s counterterrorism strategy. Certainly, the level of interagency cooperation was greater than ever before. I believe the CIA was seriously focused on the counterterrorism mission. I discussed the matter incessantly with Director Tenet and I believe he shared my sense of urgency and priority. I certainly believed at the time that the CIA was pressing 100% toward the objective of dismantling al Qaeda cells,disrupting plots, and getting bin Laden and his key lieutenants -- and I had no reason to think they were “holding back” from all they could do. I know that the President and I approved every request they made for counterterrorism authority to take action.
What we have learned since 9/11, however, makes clear that the FBI was not
focused as sharply on counterterrorism as the CIA. The overall impression that the
Bureau conveyed to us, until the very end of our time in office, was that al Qaeda had a limited capacity to operate in the U.S. and that its presence here was under surveillance. The stream of threat information we received each day pointed repeatedly to attacks on U.S. interests abroad, not at home
. And because that was the daily threat picture, that was where we focused most of our attention. Nonetheless, when presented with specific domestic threats – such as during the Millennium period – we protected the homeland/
(emphasis mine)

Burger was not publicly questioned by Gorelick or other 9/11 Commission members that I was able to find. What is interesting about his statement is the transfer of responsibility to the FBI, who were "not focused as sharply on counterterrorism as the CIA", according by Berger.

2. Condi Rice's testimony to the 9/11 Commission, particularly her interaction with Jamie Gorelick: -- and I urge you to read the entire exchange in light of the existence of Able Danger (scroll down the link until you come to the Gorelick/Rice bit); and in light of our knowledge of the fact that Gorelick herself was key in promoting the lack of communication between the CIA and the FBI (and perhaps military intelligence and the FBI?)

3. This little tidbit, where NSA Berger and Jamie Gorelick (at the time in the private sector) were on a panel together in January, 2001 discussing cyberterrorism:

Gorelick: Now, cyber terrorism may be a new issue to many Americans, but it's not new to me and it's not new to this administration. In 1995, our Attorney General asked me to chair a critical infrastructure working group that brought together Justice and Defense and the intelligence community to begin to address what we saw as a new and emerging threat. The President then appointed a commission on critical infrastructure protection whose advisory board I co-chaired.

In response to his commission's work, last year the President signed two directives -- to strengthen U.S. readiness to meet unconventional threats to our nation, and to protect our critical infrastructures. He appointed a national coordinator, Dick Clarke, to review and handle and coordinate security infrastructure protection and counterterrorism, and a national plan is under development to ensure that America can defend itself in cyberspace.

All this tidbit tells us is that (1)Gorelick was indeed in a position to know many people at the DoD in the intelligence community. (2) that as late as January, 2001, (when Bush was just taking office) she was aggressively defending and highlighting the steps the Clinton Adminstration had been talking against Terrorism; and (3) that She and Sandy Berger were in contact even though she was at the time with Fannie Mae and in the private sector. This conference was less than 8 months before 9/11.

Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters has the latest; and also check out The Anchoress. Many people in the blogsphere have picked up this particular ball and are running with it. Let's see what information comes out.

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